Bailey on USENET

I got the following letter from Helen* in April 2003.

* Name changed to protect her privacy.

Dear Ms. James:

I am a 33 y.o. mTf who started her transition at age 32. Luckily for me, I always looked younger than my age and was blessed with moderate bone structure.

I am writing to comment on both Mr. Bailey and the TS community.

Mr. Bailey's opinions which are put forth as well researched scholarly conclusions are both nauseating and infuriating. However, there is some truth there.

I would venture to say that many TS women often do travel paths containing elements described by Mr. Bailey, emphasis on elements. I've met many transsexuals who can be described as autogynephilic or homosexual; however, these are merely elements of their personal journey, one of many motivating factors which exists in the complex realm of transsexualism.

The thing which is most infuriating about Mr. Bailey is the fact that he is completely dismissive of any variables/factors that do not fall within his paradigm. He basically invalidates the lives and struggles of any individual who has followed a different route.

Having your inner most thoughts and feelings dismissed by an individual who claims to have greater credibility and authority than yourself is infuriating. It can make one feel as though they are crazy.

The nauseating thing is obvious. Bailey depicts all transsexuals, no matter what path, as being depraved sex addicts of one type or another. It's disgusting.
Now onto Bailey in conjunction with the TS community...

In order to discuss this, I should reveal myself a bit further...

Childhood = sucked -- suffered constant physical and mental abuse as a child from a variety of sources but mostly my mother; I felt constantly out of place and not like most other boys (I was gentle and quiet etc... you know the stereotype); often mistaken for a girl - fair complexion/features, red hair (you get the picture), felt like a girl and knew that I was very different by the time I was eight and saw a group of TS show-girls on television; was "boyified" to start elementary school etc... beaten up often, called sissy and faggot consistently...

Those elements are accepted by the TS community and usually found as a common narrative; Bailey dismisses these elements as fabrications (which is personally infuriating as a person who has confronted childhood abusers and been dismissed by them as being crazy... I know what this dismissive nature is like on several fronts). Having your innermost thoughts dismissed as invalid is incredibly hurtful, especially by someone who claims to be an authority on the subject .

Adolescence = sucked - switched schools, tired of being called sissy and physically tortured I developed a tough-guy persona; my inner feelings of being different did not cease, but I swallowed them deeply, kept them well hidden...

This is an element which is accepted as part of the TS community narrative, but again dismissed by Bailey. Bailey will accept any autogynephilic feelings that I may have had (I did), but will not accept that there was something deeper (because little boys just don't cry themselves to bed at night praying that God will make them real girls). Again, infuriating.

College = sucked

Adulthood = somewhat better -- I had dated women and was sometimes attracted to men, although never enough to motivate me to take the plunge as it were; I met a woman whom I married, I loved her dearly and still do now, but we divorced because we had differences, one of them being that I was transsexual... after that... free to move on... I begin my transition a year after my separation...

Bailey loves this. I fall in his autogynephilic category, any other feelings that I ever had are completely dismissed. The fact that I went to lawschool and practiced law is even better. I'm a macho guy turned on about the idea of having tits, ass, and a pussy. Well sorry to disappoint, Mr. Bailey, 'cause that ain't the whole picture.
On the other hand, I'm also dismissed by the TS community in much the same way.

I've been told that because I didn't start until in my early thirties. I'm not a true transsexual. Because I did love a woman very dearly, I'm not a true transsexual. Because I strongly desire intimacy with a male partner before SRS, I'm not a true transsexual. Because I occasionally perform sex work in order to finance my transition, I'm not a true transsexual.

I'm also dismissed by the TS community because I'm often indecisive on the issue of SRS. Well, my understanding is that quite often it doesn't work very well, that many TS women are basically left with a dead unfeeling hole. And guess what, when I seek answers to my questions regarding SRS, TS women are either evasive or they lie about it. Hey, I want to be congruous; in fact, it's extremely important to me. But, I won't sacrifice something I'm unhappy with for something that is worse!
As it turns out, the authority who is most consistently dismissive of my innermost thoughts and feelings are the members of the TS community whom I encounter and not Mr. Bailey (yes, I think he's a dickhead).

I lost most of my family and friends after coming out. Transition wasn't something that I undertook lightly. The past year and a half has been an incredible struggle. So to both the TS community and Mr. Bailey, I didn't make incredible sacrifices and undertake this struggle in order to satisfy some fetish or fantasy.

I am a woman because I am! I am a transsexual because I am!

After only a year and a half, I'm attractive and pretty passable. I go to straight clubs and restaurants often and with no issues. I consider myself physically blessed because of this. I'm getting better on a daily basis. A couple of more years, I'll be un"spook"able (that's an NYC term, kiddos).

Through sacrifice, patience, strength of mind, and endurance, I will complete my journey. I will finally be myself. And I will do it with no help from Mr. Bailey or the so called TS community.

Our journeys all take different paths, but the destination is basically the same. Help your sisters as you find them. Don't judge. Don't allow yourself to be judged.